Ross Leslie and Chris Griffin are joined by Gareth Mutch for an hour of solid observational stand-up as part of the Free Fringe at the Beehive Inn. The show’s title, Two Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was a bit of a misrepresentation given that the subject matter dealt with by each of the three comedians didn’t stray too far from everyday matters – sex, relationships, looking like a character out of Middle-Earth etc. However, the relaxed and amiable atmosphere that the comics fostered left nobody in the mood to nitpick.
This is laidback, self-deprecating stand up from three hard-working comedians
A few minutes of warm up is provided by Ross Leslie, who returns later for his own set. First up proper is Liverpudlian Chris Griffin. With guitar in hand, he treats us to an ode on his journey into manhood. Admittedly, it is a bold opening gambit and went over a few people’s heads on the day (Well, I enjoyed it!). When he eventually gives up, admitting he can’t play the instrument, he proceeds through a well-paced and tight set that is at times quite dark. He is at his best discussing how a ‘hobbit-like’ man from Liverpool can laugh women into bed – where and when they stop is of concern to him – with the slight sense of tension created after an initial awkward introduction comfortably dispelled.
Addressing the elephant in the room, Gareth Mutch begins his set declaring that this is indeed his actual voice, going on to recount one doctor’s suggestion of a particularly unscientific remedy for his husky tones. An energetic delivery and evident wit get the audience on his side from the get-go and (as every comic should do) he has a stockpile of remarks reserved for any latecomers. A student of theatre and performance, Mutch’s material centres around what most 20-somethings have to deal with; the aforementioned sex and relationships, or lack thereof. His affable personality suggests that he would go down a treat with a university-going crowd.
Back to finish the show is an obviously more-comfortable Ross Leslie, who proves to be a welcome surprise, redeeming himself for what was, at best, a mediocre attempt at compère duties. Though treading similar ground to those before him Leslie’s set does feel that bit more polished and professional – the material on married life in particular bearing comic fruit.
There is nothing confrontational or any particularity taxing material for the audience to deal with – this is laidback, self-deprecating stand up from three hard-working comedians which, on the day, provided a welcome respite from the manic activity outside the window on Edinburgh’s Grassmarket.